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Jan 26, 2012 8:44 PM by Jacqui Heinrich

Copper thieves take out streetlights in Old Colorado City

A two mile stretch of Old Colorado City is dark after copper wire thieves strike again. This is a section of town that has seen a fair share of crime, and business owners worry that the cover of darkness might attract even more criminals and put their livelihoods at risk.

When Charles Lamoreaux saw that the streetlights had gone out around his shop on Colorado Avenue, he didn't wait for the city to act. After his jewelry store was burglarized last March, he took matters into his own hands. "We had a strobe light and a very loud alarm system installed because there's no streetlights to show what's going on," he said today.

Business owners are saying the city should make restoring the lights on Colorado Avenue a priority so that employees and residents can watch for crime and do what police haven't done well in the past. Lamoreaux said it took three hours for law enforcement to arrive on scene last March.

India Fraley, a 7-11 employee, says protecting businesses isn't the only concern- residents are at risk too. "There are a lot of elderly people that walk down these streets and they need to be safe. There's just too much crime in this area not to have any streetlights on," she says.

City officials say they're aware of the problem on Colorado Avenue and are working to fix lights that have been stripped, but taxpayers may find the bill hard to swallow. Repair costs amount to about $1000 per light pole.

John Leavitt, a spokesperson for the city, says police need help from the public to stop the thieves and prevent future theft. "Copper wire theft is a big issue in Colorado Springs and we really need the help of citizens out there. They're the eyeballs of the police department and of the city," he stated.

Officials are urging the public to report suspicious persons tampering with light poles. Legitimiate utilities workers wear identifiable uniforms, carry badges, and drive clearly marked vehicles.

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